12 Splurge-Worthy Getaways. In the mood for some perfect pampering in a breathtaking setting?
Santa Barbara has plenty of ways to make sure you’re happily spoiled. Lodgings here specialize in laid-back luxury, with settings ranging from hilltop areas, to secret bungalows, to edge-of-the-sea dazzlers. Consider Belmond El Encanto, with terraced gardens and sweeping views of the Pacific. Perched in the hills above town, it feels like a private enclave that doesn’t draw attention or flash—just pure relaxation and sigh-worthy settings. Pull on a fluffy robe from the closet of your classic bungalow to dip into the pool, or get a treatment at the onsite spa. Natural beauty meets classic luxury and romance at San Ysidro Ranch, nestled in the Montecito foothills. At the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, expect ultimate five-star service a seashell toss from the ocean. 12 Must-See Zoos and Aquariums. Like a journey to Africa, a day at this spectacular park lets you see some of the world’s most magnificent—and endangered—animals at close range and in expansive naturalized enclosures.
A tram ride leads you past roaming groups of rhinos, gazelles, giraffes, and other species ranging freely through savannah-like expanses. African lions wrestle with their cubs in specially designed enclosures that look like part of the whole, but are safely contained from other animals. There’s plenty to see on foot too: the amazing Tiger Trail exhibit lets you get remarkable underwater views of Sumatran tigers swimming in the Tiger Trail exhibit.
Discoveries on the way to Yosemite. Must-See State Parks. Visiting this 14,000-acre/5,666-hectare park is like walking through a portal into a world where everything is giant and green—a rainforest where ferns arc over mossy trails in a dappled world of light and shadow.
Start with a hike among the ancient redwoods on the 3.2-mile/5.1-km Prairie Creek and Cathedral Tree loop, which begins at Prairie Creek Redwoods’ visitor center. From your first steps, “lush” is the operative word. 9 Family-Friendly Wineries & Craft Breweries. What began as a cobbled-together home brewing operation grew up to become one of America’s first modern microbreweries, and the producer of one of California’s most beloved beers: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Founder Ken Grossman started out as a young home brewer, making beer in five-gallon batches with homemade equipment. After studying chemistry in college, he opened a home brewing shop in Chico for like-minded brewing fanatics. Two years later, he took the plunge into commercial brewing. 9 Great National Parks. Jutting dramatically out into the blue Pacific, the over 70,000-acre/28,732-hectare Point Reyes National Seashore almost seems to break away from the Northern California coast.
9 Great National Parks. 8 Top Places for Whale Watching. Each year, November through April, California gray whales make their annual migration from feeding grounds in Alaska south to mate and have babies in the warm coastal lagoons of Baja, Mexico.
Along the way, the whales do a swim-by off the Mendocino Coast, offering an unforgettable chance to see the leviathans spouting, breaching, and diving as they make their epic journey south. "Book a spot on a whale-watching charter, or, if you’re feeling adventurous and waters are calm, rent kayaks. " High vantage points along the coast are good spots to spot whales, particularly on calm mornings. Favorite spots near town include coastal trails in Mendocino Headlands State Park, and at Point Arena Lighthouse. Amazing Agritourism Experiences. Country roads, shady orchards, gnarled wine vines—these trails provide gorgeous agricultural scenery as well as places to stop and taste the bounty.
Tehama Trail (Tehama County). Follow country roads through picturesque olive groves and vineyards, stopping for wine tasting near Lassen Volcanic National Park, olive (and olive oil) sampling in Corning, and other farm-fresh foods along the way. Sonoma County Farm Trails (Sebastopol). Take a self-guided tour of artisanal family farms and food producers dotting this celebrated wine region. Find out where to take a farm tour at places like First Light Farm in Petaluma, or enjoy ultra-local ingredients at Zazu Kitchen and Farm in Sebastopol. Marin Agricultural Land Trust (Marin County). Hidden Villa (Los Altos Hills). Happy Acres Family Farm (Templeton). Fresno Country Fruit Trail (Fresno County). China Ranch Date Farm (Tecopa). 9 Family-Friendly Gold Rush Adventures. Get a one-two punch of experiences with a visit to this remarkable site in Grass Valley, roughly 60 miles/92 kilometers northeast of Sacramento.
First, spend time in the Visitor Center to learn about one of California’s oldest, largest, deepest, longest, and richest gold mines, where, in the course of a century, 5.6 million ounces/159 million grams of gold were mined—enough to fill a box 7 feet/3 meters long, 7 feet/3 meters high, and 7 feet/3 meters deep by the time the mine shut down in 1956. To get a sense of the size of the mine, see the scale model representing the mine’s 5-square-mile/13-square-km network, then walk outside to visit the entrance of the actual shaft—a tiny peak into a staggering underground maze of 367 miles/591 kilometers. Now shift gears—mentally and physically—with a walk through the grounds of William Bowers Bourn Jr., who took over management of the mine in 1879.
Hide description Show description Sign Up for Free Create your free Glamping Hub account now. By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the Terms and Conditions and the Cancellation Policies Guest Sign Up Log In. Visit California. Special VIP Tours. Volcanoes to the Sea. Hidden Attractions and Unusual Things to Do in California. Hidden Attractions and Unusual Things to Do in California. 8 Amazing Hidden Travel Gems in California.
California is by far one of the best states to visit for a holiday or a road trip.
Many visitors to the state typically flock to the larger cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, but California also has an abundance of beautiful towns and pristine nature. Its expansive coastline, endlessly tall patches of redwoods, marshes, mountains and beaches all contribute to some of the most diverse landscapes in the country; while the multitude of wineries sitting on undulating miles of vineyards are sure to satiate any wine lover. Seafood is fresh caught, the vibe is low-key, the vino is sublime and the perfect weather is, well, perfect. So the next time you’re rolling down the West Coast and feeling car-bound jitters, take a breather and discover some of California’s top hidden travel gems as picked by us here at Hopper. 8. Photo by bcampbell65/Shutterstock. Fort Bragg is also on Hopper’s list of 18 amazing hidden travel gems in the United States 7.
Photo by Stelian Popa/Shutterstock. 6. 5.
The Most Beautiful Places in California - Road Trip Ideas. Flickr/Ed Hunsinger 9. Fern Canyon Gold Bluffs Beach Steven Spielberg chose this as the location for The Lost World: Jurassic Park because 1) holy crap look at it, 2) it's an international Biosphere Reserve (what does that even mean???) Hidden Attractions and Unusual Things to Do in California. Museums. Architecture. Springs/Spas.